ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz has found his swing again.As Cruz finished up the first half of the season in an offensive slump, Rangers manager Ron Washington noted that his timing and bat speed seemed to be too slow. Not anymore. Cruz has hit safely in a career-high 11 straight games, after adding two hits in Thursday's 3-2 win over the Angels, and has hit .404 (19-for-47) with 10 RBIs in the Rangers' last seven games. Before that, he had just two RBIs in the club's previous 15 games. "Comfort. Finding his rhythm," Washington said of what Cruz has improved on. "I think three days off did him some good." Washington felt that rest during the All-Star break didn't benefit Cruz physically, but rather the battles he was facing within himself. "Mentally, because he really wasn't doing what he knew he was capable of doing, sometimes the mental fatigue can make you look physically fatigued," Washington said. "It wasn't the physical part that did him some good over the three-day break. I think it was the mental part." Washington understands what it's like to go through slumps and knows how difficult it can be to shake them. "He wasn't doing what he wanted to do and it was just so frustrating," Washington recalled. "He's had a chance to get away from that frustration."
Next step for Harden to be determined
ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Rich Harden received mixed results in his Wednesday start with Triple-A Oklahoma City, and manager Ron Washington isn't yet sure what his next step will be.Harden, recovering from a left gluteal strain, struck out nine batters and threw 62 of his 88 pitches for strikes, but he allowed six runs on seven hits -- including two home runs -- in five innings of work. "He got some balls up, got some balls down, threw some good changeups and threw some bad changeups," Washington said. "I don't exactly know what he looked like last night. I can only go by what the report said and what the linescore looked like. You never know how he got that stuff up." Washington said he'll decide what Harden's next course of action will be sometime before the weekend. Harden could make another start for Oklahoma City or he could be called up to the Rangers. "That's something we're going to discuss between now and [Friday]," Washington said. "Then we'll know more. That's not something we've had a chance to sit down and talk about." Also pitching while on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation is left-hander Derek Holland, who will pitch Friday in Surprise, Ariz. "We'll send him out after that if everything goes well. He's pitching in a regular game," Washington said.
Extra work paying off in big way for Andrus
ARLINGTON -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is happy to be out of his recent funk.Andrus, mired in an 0-for-26 skid, broke out in style in the Rangers' last four games, going 8-for-19 with three multi-hit games. "I've been working with Clint [Hurdle] and Johnny Narron, they've been helping me a lot," Andrus said. "I've been talking to the guys and seeing what they've seen in my swing. When you're in a slump, you can't see your swing. So I kind of talked to everybody and kept swinging the ball. The last game in Boston I got my timing back." In that Sunday game against the Red Sox, Andrus recorded three hits to break out of his slump, helping send the Rangers to a series victory in the process. "You've got to learn how to fight through it, and he did," manager Ron Washington said. "You always catch second wind in this game. He really didn't have a break. I think facing [Jon] Lester Sunday and getting three hits certainly helped his confidence. Sometimes that's all it takes." But Andrus credits the Rangers' success during the road trip as one of the biggest reasons as to why he's gotten back on track. "I really didn't try and change anything in my swing," Andrus said. "We were winning at that moment, so it made everything easy for me."
Judge: Bankruptcy won't interfere with play
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington testified in bankruptcy court Thursday and left with a positive message from Judge Michael D. Lynn."He just wanted to let me know to keep those guys focused on the field," Washington said of Lynn's message. "He's not going to let this bankruptcy thing interfere with what we have to do on the field. I thought that was outstanding." Washington said he wasn't nervous about testifying, noting that he wasn't there to talk bankruptcy or numbers. "He told me he was going to ask baseball questions, and I can deal with baseball questions," Washington said. "If he was going to ask me anything, it was going to be about baseball." But there were no questions for Washington. Only a message to deliver to the Rangers, who lead the American League West and began a pivotal four-game series with the division-rival Angels on Thursday at the Ballpark in Arlington. "He just told me to make sure that I let those guys know that he will not let this bankruptcy interfere with what we've done on the field," Washington said. "He wanted them to know, but he wanted to tell me personally so I could deliver the message." It was something that Washington said he appreciated. "He didn't have to involve me," Washington said. "He took the time to involve me. That meant a lot."
The Rangers' opening game against the Angels on Thursday started a streak of 16 straight games against AL West clubs. ... Ian Kinsler has hit safely in 32 of his last 35 games after seeing his batting average drop to a season-low .356 on June 8. ... The Rangers have won six of their last seven road series, with the only loss coming against the Angels from June 29-July 1.
Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.